Tag Archives: Rayna Sage

Figuring out how young adults with disabilities participate in rural community events

RTC:Rural’s research on accessible community events has a new focus. Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Research Associate, is leading our Participation in Rural Events among Young Adults with Disabilities research project. The study aims to understand how young adults with disabilities in rural communities participate in community events, and how their community participation can enrich their lives and contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.

Rayna Sage at a rodeo with mountains in the background

RTC:Rural Research Associate Rayna Sage, Ph.D., at the Pioneer Days Rodeo in Ronan, MT where she was conducting in-the-moment interviews for this project

The accessibility of rural community events is directly tied to participation, and community participation can be tied to the accumulation of social capital. “Social capital is a tradeable resource that exists in a relationship. If you have social capital you can use it to gain other kinds of capital,” said Sage. “It provides opportunities to interact with other people who may have access to resources that you don’t have access to.”

These other kinds of capital could include things like favors, experiences, or a job. Another way to think of it could be as “cashing in” on a friendship or social connection in order to secure some sort of benefit, such as a job at a family friend’s store, or access to a behind-the-scenes space at a public event for someone who needs a place to sit in the shade and rest.

Having social capital could be especially important in rural communities, and could help overcome some of the limitations faced by young adults with disabilities as they transition into adulthood. “It’s a vulnerable period for most people, the transition after high school into whatever they’re going into, but for young adults with disabilities it’s even more critical for them to engage in meaningful activities that are going to enhance their lives,” said Sage.

Sage’s previous work has pointed to how the inequality gap between poor/working class and middle/upper class young adults grows during the period of transition into adulthood, even if they go to college. Now, in this new study, she hopes to see if the social capital in rural communities can help young adults with disabilities compensate for some of the other inequalities and challenges they may be facing. Continue reading

RTC:Rural team celebrates growth with four new associates

January is almost over, but we’re still celebrating the New Year—and the new RTC:Rural staff who have joined us in the last few months. Since the Fall of 2016, the RTC:Rural staff has grown by 31%  with the addition of four new associate positions!

Meet the new RTC:Rural staff:

RTC:Rural Training Associate Maggie Lawrence in the woods with her dogs

Maggie Lawrence

Maggie Lawrence, Training Associate

Maggie is originally from Los Angeles, CA. She has a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from UC Santa Cruz and an MA in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Maggie has worked as an editor, a community information and referral specialist, a research librarian, and has experience in women’s and LGBTIQ rights advocacy. She is interested in issues of equal access and community empowerment.
Kerry Morse

Kerry Morse

Kerry Morse, Communications Associate

Kerry’s role on the knowledge translation team at RTC:Rural includes managing electronic media, and creating communications strategies and products to reach our diverse audiences. Kerry received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, and brings over a decade of experience conducting cause-driven outreach, education, communications and project management in rural areas. Prior to joining the Rural Institute in 2016, she worked for conservation focused nonprofits in Montana and California.
Rayna Sage

Rayna Sage

Rayna Sage, Research Associate

Rayna is a rural sociologist and began working with RTC: Rural in November of 2016. While attending Washington State University she earned her M.A. in Human Development in 2003 and her Ph.D. in Sociology in 2012. Between these two degrees she worked as a home visiting social worker for rural low-income families with small children. Utilizing primarily qualitative methods, Dr. Sage conducts her research to study and combat gender and economic inequality and enhance the vitality of rural labor markets and community support systems.
Lauren Smith holding a woodpecker

Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith, Knowledge Translation Associate

Lauren has a B.A. in both English and zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University, and a Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies with a writing focus from the University of Montana. Lauren has worked as a field biologist across North America, handling birds ranging from rufous hummingbirds to trumpeter swans. She has also been an environmental educator, writer, and editor. She believes that science communication is a vital part of all research, and works with the rest of the Knowledge Translation team to communicate the research findings of the RTC:Rural to a variety of audiences.

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